DeSales University

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DeSales University
DeSales University Marketing Logo.png
Former names
Allentown College of Saint Francis de Sales
Motto "Be Who You Are and Be That Well"
Type Private
Established 1964[1]
Affiliation Catholic Church (Oblates of St. Francis de Sales)
Endowment $69.3 million[2]
President Rev. James J. Greenfield, OSFS ’84, Ed.D.
Academic staff
126 full-time, 205 part-time[3]
Undergraduates 2,388 (2016)[4]
Postgraduates 921 (2016)[5]
Location Center Valley, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Campus Suburban
400 acres
Colors Blue and Red          
Nickname Bulldogs
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division III Middle Atlantic States Collegiate Athletic Conference (MAC)
Mascot Bulldog

DeSales University is a private Catholic university in Center Valley, Pennsylvania. The university offers traditional, online, and hybrid courses and programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Named for St. Francis de Sales, the university was founded in 1964 as "Allentown College of Saint Francis de Sales" by the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales.


The entrance to Trexler Library at DeSales University.

On February 11, 1961, Joseph McShea was appointed Bishop of the Allentown Diocese by Pope John XXIII. One of the first actions of Bishop McShea was to make a study of the educational facilities, which called attention to the fact that there was no Catholic college in the Diocese. At the request of the Bishop, the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales agreed to assume the responsibility for establishing a liberal arts college to serve this need.

Planning for the new college began in April 1962, and the charter for Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales, with full power to award the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees, was granted by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on May 27, 1964. Classes began for freshmen in September 1965. Allentown College was fully accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools during the 1969-1970 academic year. In September 1970, the College became a co-educational institution. ACCESS, the College's continuing education department, was established in the fall of 1977. In the spring of 1988, the College opened the Easton campus, an extension of its ACCESS evening degree program.

The College's course offerings continued to grow. A Master of Science in Nursing degree was introduced in 1984; the Master of Science in Management Information Systems in September 1988; and an M.Ed. program in the summer of 1989. In August 1991, the College began its MBA program which has now grown to be the second largest MBA program in the state of Pennsylvania.[6] In the fall of 1998, the College became the first Catholic College in the country to offer a major in marriage and family studies.

On March 1, 2000, Allentown College received official notification from the Pennsylvania Department of Education that its application for university status had been approved. In addition, the department approved the use of the name "DeSales University"; (DSU). The College's Board of Trustees voted in favor of these changes on April 13, 2000. The name and status changes, effective January 1, 2001, were made in recognition of the institution's academic excellence, faculty commitment, Catholic heritage and continued growth in graduate education.

Rev. James J. Greenfield, OSFS, took over as the University’s fourth president on January 1, 2018.


The main entrance to the Gambet Center for Business and Healthcare at DeSales University.

The student-faculty ratio at DeSales University is 13:1, and the school has 58.7 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students. The most popular majors at DeSales University include: Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services, Health Professions and Related Programs, Psychology, Visual and Performing Arts, and Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting and Related Protective Services. The average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, is 82 percent. [7]

More than 95% of undergraduate, full-time day students receive some form of financial aid. [8]

The trading room in the Gambet Center at DeSales University.
The front of the Hurd Science Center at DeSales University.
The main entrance to the DeSales University Center.

University Rankings[edit]

The 2016 edition of Best Colleges from US News & World Report ranked DeSales University as 61st in the "Regional Universities North", 35th in "Best Colleges for Veterans", and 32nd in "Best Value Schools".[9]


DeSales is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). The Physician Assistant Program also holds accreditation from the Commission on the Accreditation of Allied Health Programs (CAAHEP). Business and business related programs are accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). DeSales University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program has received accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). Financial planning programs are CFP Board Registered Programs.[10]

Salesian Center for Faith & Culture[edit]

Established in 2000, the Salesian Center for Faith & Culture is the first center for research and development at DeSales University. Its mission is to promote academic initiatives that integrate social concerns and gospel values in the tradition of Christian Humanism. The Salesian Center’s activities include research on faith developments in the modern world, dialogue about how spirituality can impact our contemporary life, and partnership with various public sectors to make the link between faith and culture happen. On campus, the Salesian Center sponsors annual events for students, including the Heritage Week celebrations, the Center Valley Forum series, the Ruggiero Lectures, and the John Paul II Arts & Culture series. Students can also become members of the Salesian Center through enrollment in the Faith & Reason Honors Program or the Ryan Leadership Institute. Students may also participate in special research projects directed by the center.[11]

The Salesian Center administers the Forum for Ethics in the Workplace[12] whose mission is "to provide opportunities for people to come together for study, reflection, conversation, and action on ethical issues in the workplace, especially in the Greater Lehigh Valley." The Societas Award is awarded annually to one or more companies that demonstrate responsible business conduct. This award program honors those employers who meet the needs of others through the production of goods and services, the organization of good and productive work, and the creation of sustainable wealth distributed justly. The 2017 award winners were BerkOne (large company), Concannon Miller (mid-size company), and KMRD Partners (small company).[13]


The main DeSales campus is located on over 400 acres in the middle of the Lehigh Valley.[14] Two satellite campuses are located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and Lansdale, Pennsylvania.[15]


Dooling Hall is named in honor of Fr. J. Stuart Dooling, OSFS, first president of Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales. Dooling Hall is the main academic building consisting of four wings and a central area and is home to the majority of liberal arts classrooms.[16]

The Gambet Center for Business and Health Care Education includes state-of-the-science simulation laboratories, globally integrated classrooms and administrative operations for undergraduate and graduate health care and business degree programs. The Center is a showcase of green architecture featuring environmentally advanced design consistent with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification standards of the U.S. Green Building council. This building is named for Fr. Daniel G. Gambet, OSFS, president emeritus of DeSales University.[17]

The Hurd Science Center is a 36,000 square foot facility located on Station Avenue (on the Brisson Campus side) across the street from the Dooling Hall parking lot. The center is named in honor of Mrs. Priscilla Payne Hurd, a generous benefactor of numerous buildings and programs throughout the Lehigh Valley. The building houses modern equipment in large 24-seat laboratories designed specifically for the various science disciplines offered at DeSales. It also features a 99-seat lecture hall, conference rooms, faculty offices, and small individual laboratories for faculty and student research.[18]

The Labuda Center is a state-of-the-art venue, home to the theatre, dance, and TV/film departments. The Labuda Center boasts three stages, a 30 by 45 foot dance studio with a sprung wooden floor, and a TV/Film studio equipped with a full lighting system, tracked draperies, green screen capacity, three digital cameras, a modular, digital set, and control booth. The production facilities include two spacious dressing rooms, a scene shop, costume shop, and an electric shop. The Iacocca Studio features the latest television and film equipment. The Main Stage Theater is the primary performance space for the theater and dance programs. Its auditorium seats 473 in an orchestra and balcony arrangement. The Schubert Theater is a 200-seat, black-box performing space that offers a non-proscenium experience with the furthest seat no more than 25 feet from the stage. The Labuda Center was named for Monsignor Felix Labuda, pastor of Sts. Cyril and Methodius Church in Bethlehem, who was the major contributor for the building. The dedication and first production were held on February 26, 1982. The Albert M. Iacocca TV/Film Studios were named in honor of Albert M. Iacocca, the late co-owner of Yocco’s restaurants and benefactor of the University.[19]

The Trexler Library, dedicated to the memory of local industrialist Harry C. Trexler, is located in the center of campus. Built in 1988, the 36,000 sq. ft. facility hosts the 55-seat theatre-style Air Products Room, two computer classrooms, the McFadden Room which houses the Salesian collection, and ten group study rooms. The collection includes over 141,000 paper books and 130,000 electronic books, 265 newspaper and paper journal subscriptions, access to over 12,000 full text online journals, and over 8,000 educational streaming videos. The Trexler Library serves as both a University and a community library.

Student life[edit]

Students at DeSales are offered many opportunities to participate at different degrees and in many different ways. First-year students participate in Character U to facilitate the transition to college with events and peer mentoring. There are several student clubs and organizations and a student programming center whose mission is primarily to plan activities (games, movie nights, bus trips, etc.) for the students of DeSales University.


Varsity Sports
Men's sports Women's sports
Baseball Softball
Basketball Basketball
Cross country Cross country
Lacrosse Lacrosse
Golf Volleyball
Soccer Soccer
Tennis Tennis
Track & Field Track & Field
Field Hockey
† – Track and field includes both indoor and outdoor.

Billera Hall is a state-of-the-art recreational facility which boasts a total of 82,500 sq. ft. Billera Hall comes complete with a fitness center with weights and aerobic areas, a gym with 3 full basketball courts, a running track and roll down curtains that can separate the large space into 3 smaller stations as needed for basketball, volleyball, or tennis. As one large space, the courts can be used for lacrosse, baseball, or track practice. A balcony overlooks the action providing spectators with clear views of all sporting events. Outdoor facilities include a soccer field, turf field for lacrosse field, softball field, baseball field, and track.

DeSales has 17 varsity athletic teams.[20] They compete in NCAA Division III within the MAC Freedom of the Middle Atlantic Conferences. Club sports include: swimming, tennis, cheerleading, the dance team, equestrian team, men's and women's rugby, men's ice hockey and men's volleyball.[21]

In 2017, DeSales women's basketball earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III tournament.[22]

DeSales women's soccer won the MAC Freedom Conference Championship in 2015.

DeSales men's basketball team won back to back MAC Freedom Conference tournaments in 2009 and 2010. In 2009, they made it to the "Elite 8" in the Division III NCAA Tournament. In 2010, they advanced to the "Sweet 16."

The 2010-2011 men's track and field team won the 2011 MAC championship in outdoor track and field.


Since 2001, the mascot has been a french bulldog, and varsity athletic teams have used the nickname "Bulldogs".

Before 2001, the mascot for Allentown College was a centaur, and teams had the moniker "Allentown College Centaurs".[23]

Student media[edit]

The Minstrel is the university's only student-run newspaper. WDSR is the university's internet radio-only station.


DeSales is a private, four-year Catholic university for men and women administered by the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales. It is endorsed by The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College. DeSales is also a member of the Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges (LVAIC), which offers cross-registration and interlibrary loan with other Lehigh Valley-based institutions.

Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival[edit]

The Division of Performing Arts hosts the annual Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival and features a 473-seat theater commercially operated by students.[24]

Kamran Afshar Data Analytics Center[edit]

The DeSales University Division of Business hosts the Kamran Afshar Data Analytics Center (KADAC).[25]

DeSales Free Clinic at Allentown Rescue Mission[edit]

A student-run, student-funded clinic provides completely free primary and acute care, laboratory services and medications to the men seeking shelter or enrolled in a recovery program at the Allentown Rescue Mission. [26] [27]

Notable people[edit]




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  14. ^ "DeSales Campus info". DeSales University Website. Retrieved 11 May 2017. 
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  28. ^ "Tenafly High grad stars in Fox pilot" Archived 2008-10-07 at the Wayback Machine., The Record (Bergen County), March 4, 2008. Accessed March 4, 2008.
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  30. ^ "Gospel of Mark takes stage at St. David's". Glenview Announcements. Glenview, IL. 2010-04-22 – via HighBeam Research. (Subscription required (help)). 
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External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°32′24″N 75°22′37″W / 40.540°N 75.377°W / 40.540; -75.377